The second definition of "traduction" given by Merriam Webster's website is

The repetition of a word or one of its derivatives or a term with a change in sense for rhetorical or argumentative effect.

I'm not sure what this means. What is an example of this?

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    traduction has a range of "more or less related" meanings. The one here is specifically a rhetorical device. It just means deliberately using the same word more than once within an utterance, but with different meanings / allusions associated with the different instances of the word. Similar to zeugma (using a word once, but with multiple meanings, usually for humour, as in John and his driving licence expired last week). Aug 15, 2022 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


An example is provided by a jingle (of the non-musical variety) the BBC used to advertise their BBC iPlayer (catch-up service):

  • Making the unmissable, unmissable.

Some might prefer to drop the comma.

The first 'unmissable' means 'too good to miss', and the second 'so easy to access even if you miss the first showing that you need never miss [the programme in question]'.

But this sense of 'traduction' is rarely encountered.

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    Well found! I gave up looking for examples when it became apparent that so far as Google is concerned, if I include the word traduction (underlined in red by my UK-based spellchecker) in my search terms, I must be French, and I must be trying to find a translation of something. Aug 15, 2022 at 11:54
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    @FumbleFingers that's the problem I ran into also Aug 15, 2022 at 11:55
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    @Timkinsella: I probably already knew it as a French word already, but even though I wasn't familiar with the definition as cited by OP here, I understood it perfectly well as soon as I read it. But - coming up with an actual example isn't easy! Dictionaries give example usages of the word itself, not examples of utterances which exemplify / illustrate use of the rhetorical device! Aug 15, 2022 at 12:00
  • I would have heard it as a French word -- the word for translation -- and pronounced it in French. I would not have looked it up in an English dictionary. People often use French words, n'est-ce pas? Aug 15, 2022 at 19:37

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